Things you should never do before bed
Have you ever wondered why you are not able to fall asleep easily or have a deep sleep? Insomnia is not the most common reason for this. In fact, you’re probably unknowingly doing some activities that are disturbing your sleep.
As sleeping less than 8 hours makes you tired, unproductive, groggy, and nervous, here are some activities you should avoid before bed to improve your sleep routine.
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Taking a hot shower
A hot shower right before bedtime is a favorite thing for many people. It's because of the belief that a hot bath contributes to good sleep. Unfortunately, doctors have proved that it's a difference in temperature that helps us fall asleep: the higher this difference is, the more we want to sleep. High water temperature causes problems with sleep, and if you take a hot shower longer than 10 minutes, you may face insomnia.
Some people like drinking hot coffee before bed, but you should avoid it right before bed unless you want to disturb your sleeping habits. Coffee won’t only disturb your sleep, but also make it harder to fall asleep while also wake you up during the night. Just a cup of coffee can contain up to 120 milligrams of caffeine per cup, which can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. You better drink a small cup of tea.
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Although a glass of wine can make you fall asleep faster, wine prevents you from falling into a deep sleep. Having wine with your dinner is nice, but make sure you skip drinking wine before bed.
According to Dr. Rosenberg, alcohol tricks you into thinking you will sleep better because it often makes you drowsy and makes it easier to fall asleep. Moreover, a 2014 University of Missouri study points out that alcohol is a diuretic and may force you to go to the bathroom through the night.
Going to bed hungry
It’s not recommended to eat (especially junk food) right before bedtime, but you certainly don’t want to go to bed on a full stomach. The best time to eat dinner is 3 hours before bedtime. This way, you’re allowing your stomach to properly digest and focus on preparing for sleep when bedtime rolls around the corner.
Yet if you eat nothing and go to bed hungry, it can cause a drop-in blood sugar which could actually be waking you up at night. When your blood sugar gets low, insulin is produced to help utilize fat stores, but this can be stimulating and keep you awake.
We all like to relax before we go to sleep and eat sweets while watching a movie. Eating sweets, and especially chocolate before bed, is a bad idea, however. Chocolate is another source of caffeine, especially dark chocolate with high cocoa contents.
For example, milk chocolate bars have less than 10 milligrams of caffeine, while Hershey's Special Dark Bar, for instance, contains 31—the amount in almost a whole can of Coke. If you eat a little more chocolate, the effect will be almost the same as if you drank coffee.
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Use electronic devices
You've probably heard that electronic devices negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Using smartphones, tablets, or television before bed can disrupt sleep because they emit the blue light which prevents the production of melatonin which helps the body become sleepy.
Without melatonin, we tend to stay awake longer. According to Robert Rosenberg, DO, author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day, people should avoid any light-emitting technology for at least one hour before bedtime.
Argue with someone
Whether it’s your partner, sister, or friend, a right-before-bedtime fight will lead to a stress response, so your body will start producing cortisol and adrenaline. Once your body starts producing these stress hormones, you won’t be able to fall asleep.
Anger, stress, nervousness, and anxiety represent strong emotions which, if not properly controlled, can cause waking up in a bad mood or sleeping issues. In that case, you may want to apologize and surprise your loved one with a gesture such as a gift they’ll love.
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Watch a scary movie
If you love watching movies before bed, make sure they are not horror movies. Scary movies can cause serious sleeping troubles, especially if you’re prone to having nightmares. Horror movies are causing the “stress hormone,” cortisol, to rocket, which can keep you alert and awake far past bedtime. If you want to sleep nicely, pick a comedy or some documentary before bed.
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Take certain medications or supplements
Although some medications and supplements can help you to fall asleep faster, or have a deep sleep, taking certain medicines can cause you sleeping issues if they’re not recommended by the doctor.
Besides, certain medications have been proven to cause insomnia. For example, pain medications may upset your stomach and make sleep more difficult. Moreover, a sleeping pill isn’t always the best solution. Always consult a doctor first, before taking any sleeping pill.
Set up the ideal temperature
The ideal temperature is essential for a wonderful sleep. The ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything cooler or warmer than that will likely cause discomfort and restlessness.
So, make sure you set up the ideal temperature before bedtime. You can also try temperature regulating sheets and pillows. It’s important to make your room cozy before you go to bed, yet everyone’s preferences are different. However, the fact is that people sleep better when it is cooler in the bedroom.